The Candymakers

( 784 )

Overview

In the town of Spring Haven, four children have been selected to compete in the national candymaking contest of a lifetime. Who will make a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Yellow Lightning Chew?

Logan, the candymaker's son, who can detect the color of chocolate by feel alone?

Miles, the boy allergic to rowboats ...

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The Candymakers

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Overview

In the town of Spring Haven, four children have been selected to compete in the national candymaking contest of a lifetime. Who will make a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Yellow Lightning Chew?

Logan, the candymaker's son, who can detect the color of chocolate by feel alone?

Miles, the boy allergic to rowboats and the color pink?

Daisy, the cheerful girl who can lift a fifty-pound lump of taffy as if it were a feather?

Philip, the suit-and-tie-wearing boy who's always scribbling in a secret notebook?

This sweet, charming, and cleverly crafted story, told from each contestant's perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In hardcover, this ingeniously confected novel won friends with its multiple narrators and interlocking plot revelations. The four preteens at the Life is Sweet factory all have stories to tell as they compete in an annual candy-making competition. Author Wendy Mass sweetens her clever tale with generous gobs of local color and eccentricity. Enough to make Willy Wonka himself proud; now in paperback and NOOK Book.

School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Imagine living in a world full of sweet, rich, delectable candy. That's what 12-year-old Logan does every day in this novel (Little Brown, 2010) by Wendy Maas. His family owns and lives at the Life Is Sweet factory. But being the descendant of a famous candy-making family has its disadvantages. Logan feels he must win the annual Confectionary Association's Best New Candy contest. He dreams of perfecting his idea for a Bubbletastic Choc-Rocket. In preparation for the contest, three competitors show up for practice at the candy factory. Miles, a boy obsessed with something from his past, likes to speak backwards. Daisy, a kind girl who likes romance novels, shows athletic prowess, and arrives at the candy factory on a horse. Philip isn't afraid to be abrasive or secretive. It's not long before strange things start happening, and it becomes apparent that there is a spy among them. This delicious story unfolds through the four different points of view of the contestants. Clever and fun, each character contributes to the adventure with a flawed but likeable uniqueness that is full of surprises. Mark Turetsky does a flawless job of creating different voices for each character. Fans of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) and mysteries will be charmed by this delectable treat.—Robyn Gioia, Bolles School, Ponte Vedra, FL
Kirkus Reviews

Set in a candy factory as tantalizingly fragrant as Willy Wonka's, this half-mystery, half–jigsaw-puzzle novel is a mild-mannered cousin to The Westing Game and When You Reach Me. Four 12-year-olds enter a candy-making contest. Logan lives in the confection plant with his parents, who own it; he narrates first, then the arc rewinds for the other contestants' viewpoints. Miles, who witnessed a drowning, adds a poignant fragility in his portion. Daisy narrates and readers see—shockingly—that she's a professional spy. Philip's no spy, but his section reveals unsavory intentions on multiple levels. There's no murder here—nor even death, it turns out; instead, there's forgiveness, correction of dishonor and an alignment of seemingly disparate events. This isn't fantasy, though it calls for a heaping cup of (enjoyable) suspension of disbelief (unflaggingly supportive grown-ups; chocolate pizza for lunch; adult confirmation that chocolate could potentially turn into gum and back again). Sweets fans will love the gooey sensory details. Earnest and sweet, with enough salty twists not to taste saccharine. (Fiction. 8-12)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316002592
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/3/2011
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 23,955
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Wendy Mass

Wendy Mass is the New York Times bestselling author of The Candymakers, the ALA Schneider Family Award winner A Mango-Shaped Space, Leap Day, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall, and Every Soul a Star. Wendy lives in New Jersey with her husband and their twins. Her website is www.wendymass.com.

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Read an Excerpt

The Candymakers


By Mass, Wendy

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2010 Mass, Wendy
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780316002585

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Once there were four children whose names were Logan, Miles, Philip, and Daisy. Each of them had recently turned twelve, and although none of them knew it yet, their lives would never be the same.

You might ask, what makes them so special that their essays were selected over hundreds of others? Why do they each want to win the contest so badly they are willing to risk everything?

Perhaps it would be best to show you.

Let’s start with Logan, since he is the Candymaker’s son, after all. But don’t think he has an edge in the contest just because he was born smelling like chocolate.

Logan has the hardest task, for he must be your eyes and ears. Pay close attention to what he tells you about the others—and himself—and what he doesn’t.

The others will get their chance, too, but it’s only fair to start with Logan because if it weren’t for his father’s generous invitation to help prepare the others for the contest, Miles, Daisy, and Philip wouldn’t be standing outside the Life Is Sweet candy factory right now, wondering if they should knock on the huge wooden door or just let themselves in.

PART ONE

LOGAN

CHAPTER ONE

Logan didn’t have to open his eyes to know that morning had arrived. The sweet smell of cotton candy wafting into his room worked better than any alarm clock. He rolled over so his nose nearly touched the air vent.

You might think that if your bedroom were inside a candy factory, your bed would be shaped like a lollypop. But Logan had gotten rid of the lollypop-shaped bed last month when he turned twelve—it had become uncomfortable not being able to bend his knees while he slept.

Logan loved the start of a new day, when the air was thick with possibilities (and, in his case, with the smell of chocolate, caramel, nougat, and spun sugar). The breeze through his open window brought the room to life. The pages of his comic books rose and fell as if they were taking deep breaths. Paper drawings on the walls fluttered. The fur of his stuffed dragon rippled, making it appear to be moving very quickly without actually moving at all.

Logan focused his attention on his breath, as he did first thing every morning. He breathed in and breathed out. With each breath he recounted the things he was grateful for. The new day. Being here to enjoy it. His parents. The factory. All the people who worked there.

In… out… in… out. He matched his rhythm with the familiar hums and whirs of the candy machines powering up for the day. The sizzle of licorice root on the stove made him pause, mid-inhale. Soon his mother would start scraping cinnamon bark onto the oatmeal she made each morning, and he always liked to be in the kitchen for that part.

“So what are we gonna do today?” his dad sang outside Logan’s door.

“Make some candy!” Logan replied automatically, his voice still scratchy.

“And why are we gonna do it?” Without waiting for Logan to answer, his father continued the chant as he did every morning. “To make the whole world smile!”

To make the whole world smile, Logan hummed to himself as he hopped out of bed to dress. All the factory workers wore white collared shirts and tan pants (those who worked outdoors wore shorts). Logan didn’t officially work for the factory yet, but he wouldn’t think of wearing anything but the official uniform during the day.

Plus all his play clothes were in piles on the floor. Truth be told, most things in Logan’s room were in piles on the floor. His parents had long since given up asking him to clean it. Who could spend time cleaning when there were so many exciting things to do right outside the door?

To his surprise, he heard his mother beginning to scrape the cinnamon bark already. He turned to look at the clock on his desk. They usually didn’t eat breakfast for another half hour. Then his breath caught in his throat. The other contestants in the Confectionary Association’s annual New Candy Contest would be arriving any minute! How could he have forgotten? But even as he asked himself that question, he knew the answer: having three other kids spend two whole days at the Life Is Sweet candy factory was so out of the ordinary, so different from his usual routine, that he hadn’t really believed it would ever happen. Their factory had never hosted any contestants before, and this year he was finally competing himself!

The only problem was that Logan didn’t have much experience with other kids. Sure, he played Name That Cloud on the lawn with the workers’ kids sometimes. But most of them were much younger. The factory’s annual picnic used to bring people from all over Spring Haven to the grounds, but it had been so long since the factory held a picnic that he barely remembered them. Every time he asked his parents why they’d stopped holding picnics, their answers were always vague. Too busy, too hard to control the crowd, that sort of thing. Eventually he just stopped asking.

Up till now his life’s steady routine hadn’t wavered much. His only outings were short trips into town to visit the local candy shops, an occasional checkup at the doctor or dentist, and the family’s annual trip to the Confectionary Association’s convention. Not that daily life at the factory didn’t bring surprises—it did, every day. But he usually knew what to expect—a candy machine that had ground to a halt, a clogged irrigation tunnel on the farm, the labels for the pink Sour Fingers getting stuck on the blue Sour Fingers container, or some other issue that could usually be fixed with a squirt or two of oil. If only making friends were as easy.

He raced into the bathroom to perform the quickest facewashing–toothbrushing in recorded history. He reached for his rarely used comb, only to watch it slip right through his fingers. He was used to dropping things. A career as a ballplayer was not in his future.

Holding the comb firmly this time, he ran it through his shaggy hair, wincing as he encountered a knot. With his father’s olive skin and his mother’s wheat-colored hair, Logan resembled no one else he’d ever seen. He didn’t look in the mirror very often, but when he did, he was always surprised to see he’d gotten older.

He arrived in the kitchen (sliding the last ten feet in his socks) just as his mom pulled a jug of fresh milk from the dumbwaiter built into the wall. She swung the metal door shut and the old gears creaked into action, pulling the tray back down to the Dairy Processing Room. The Candymaker took the pitcher and poured out three creamy white glasses. He took a big gulp from the largest one, nodded in satisfaction, and flicked a switch labeled MILK on the wall. This signaled the farmers to send the milk to the Cocoa Room and other areas of the factory that needed fresh milk every day. As a main ingredient in so many products, one could never be too careful. One day it would be up to Logan to determine if the milk was good enough.

His dad handed him a glass. Logan grasped it with both hands, took a small sip, and swished the milk around in his mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. “Bessie?” he asked.

The Candymaker shook his head. “Cora.”

Logan frowned and plopped down into his chair. He had been so certain. Bessie’s milk had a slightly nutty taste. Cora’s was thicker and mint-flavored, which he chalked up to the fact that the field where the cows grazed bordered the peppermint plants. Was he losing his touch? Being able to distinguish between the milk of two different cows was a basic skill for a candymaker.

The Candymaker reached past his generous belly and ruffled his son’s hair. “Just kidding. It was Bessie’s.”

Logan sighed in relief. His mother shook her head disapprovingly, but her husband just grinned. “Gotta keep the boy on his toes.” He tossed a few slivers of dark chocolate into his milk and stirred briskly.

“Now, Logan,” he said between sips, “be sure not to make the other kids feel insecure today. After all, you grew up here, and this is their first time visiting a candy factory.”

“I’ll be sure not to shout out the temperature at which sugar boils,” Logan promised.

The Candymaker laughed. “I’m sure you won’t.”

“Here you go,” Logan’s mom said, handing him a folded piece of notebook paper. He tucked the paper into his back pocket without reading it. This tradition had started when he turned eight and his mother was trying to find some way to make him enjoy reading more. She had found a poem called “Keep a Poem in Your Pocket.” Now each morning he got to carry a poem or a quote in his pocket. He almost always remembered to read it.

She also handed him a homemade breakfast bar—which was just her usual oatmeal compressed into bar form. “Eat this on your way downstairs,” she instructed, pointing to a small video monitor on the counter. “Your fellow contestants are here.”

Logan eagerly leaned forward for a better look. The screen showed the view outside the factory’s front door. A blond girl in a yellow sundress caught his eye first. Her dress was so bright it rivaled a Neon Yellow Lightning Chew, one of the factory’s biggest sellers.

Two boys stood beside her. He couldn’t see their faces or hear their words, but from the looks of it, they were having a very heated debate. The girl planted her hands squarely on her hips and shook her head, her ponytail whipping around. The taller boy (in a blue suit! and a tie!) stamped his foot. Logan turned to peer at the smaller boy, more casually dressed in shorts and a T-shirt. He kept shifting his large backpack from shoulder to shoulder. It must be very heavy.

“You might not want to leave them out there much longer,” Logan’s mom said. “Looks like things are heating—”

Logan was halfway out the door before she finished her sentence. He practically inhaled the breakfast bar as he ran along the steel walkway that led from the apartment into the main section of the factory. Years of eating while on the move had trained him in the art of making sure he didn’t choke.

He could run and chew and still determine every ingredient of what he was eating. In the case of the breakfast bar: beets, barley, oats, molasses, licorice root, pine nuts, cinnamon, and a dash of salt. His mom may have been a whiz at making meals out of random ingredients, but Logan was a whiz at taking them apart.

He could also tell, merely by sniffing from across the room, if a vat of chocolate needed one more teaspoon of cocoa butter. When he was younger, he could identify the color and variety of any kind of chocolate by feel alone. He had discovered this talent by blindfolding himself and sticking one clean finger into the warm mixture. After that the Candymaker had special plastic gloves made for Logan’s four-year-old hands.

Even though he could no longer perform this trick, he still found ways to make himself valuable around the factory. He spent all his early years watching his grandfather’s handmade machines turn out candy of all sizes, shapes, colors, and smells. Just by looking, he could tell if a batch of marshmallow needed one more egg white. If an Oozing Crunchorama came down the conveyor belt with one too few hazelnuts, he would toss in a nut before the chocolate shell hardened around it.

But every night, after he listed all the things he was grateful for (which took a solid twenty minutes) and when the comforting shapes around him became too dark to see, the fear crept in and whispered in his ear, You don’t have what it takes to be a candymaker. To be a candymaker, you actually had to know how to make candy. He couldn’t follow a recipe, couldn’t do even the simplest multiplication in his head. He knew that if he went to a real school, he’d probably be left behind.

Fortunately, his parents didn’t believe in traditional schooling and had always educated him themselves. His father taught him to be kind, generous, and hardworking; his mother, to read and write and tell right from wrong.

Biology and baking he learned at the elbow of the Candymaker’s right-hand man, confectionary scientist Max Pinkus (the genius responsible for creating the famous Icy Mint Blob, among other best sellers). From Mrs. Gepheart, the factory’s librarian, he learned storytelling and philosophy. Everything else he learned by playing on the great lawn behind the factory and helping with the animals and crops. Logan used to think all that knowledge was enough.

But now, only six years away from stepping into his role as official assistant candymaker, he feared otherwise. Sure, he was great at working with the candies they’d already created, but ask him to create his own nougat, for instance, and it would be a scorched mess in no time. He couldn’t translate ounces into cups or keep sugar at a steady boil, although he’d tried for years. Heating sugar to exactly the right temperature was the very foundation of candymaking. A few degrees too high, and your gummy dinosaur would turn into a lollypop!

But if he were to somehow win this contest, as his father and grandfather had when they were his age, he would not only prove to the candymaking community that he had what it took to make great candy, he would prove it to his parents and to himself.

“Hey, are you winning the race?” Henry, the head of the Marshmallow Room and one of Logan’s favorite people, called out as he ran by.

“I’ve got a good head start,” Logan replied, inhaling the smell of fresh marshmallows roasting. For as long as he could remember, they had had the same exchange every time Logan ran past Henry’s room—sometimes ten times a day. (He ran a lot.)

Greetings flew at him from all sides as he raced past the Taffy Room and the Nougat Room, his sneakers squeaking on the shiny linoleum floors. He waved in response, in too much of a hurry to chat.

His feet slowed as a thought struck him. The other kids would know a lot more about the world than he did. What if they didn’t like him? What if he didn’t fit in? He came to a full stop.

Luckily, he had stopped right outside the Candy Laboratory, where no one could focus on anything but candy. Logan loved to watch Max and the assistant candy scientists in action.

Today Max’s team was testing how long it took for their tongues to return to normal temperature after sucking on Fireball Supernovas, their newest invention. Each one held a stopwatch and a clipboard. A few were red-faced. One was panting.

Logan glanced around the room. Max’s bald head made the group easy to find. He stood beside one of the large steel kettles in the back, stirring the spicy cinnamon brew for the Supernovas with a long wooden spoon. Every few seconds he added a drop of red pepper oil. In the opposite corner of the lab, the recently harvested carrageen crop lay soaking in large metal pans.

Logan wrinkled his nose at the marshy smell of the reddish purple seaweed, which wafted all the way out to the hall. After being processed, carrageen produced the gel for all the Candymaker’s gummy products, including Gummzilla and Gummysaurus Rex, which, at thirteen inches tall, were the world’s largest commercially sold gummy dinosaurs. The gel was also used on products that required a sugar coating (like the High-Jumping Jelly Beans) or a chocolate coating (like the Oozing Crunchorama). Logan had spent many a messy afternoon coating caramel balls with carrageen before rolling them in chocolate.

He could watch the scientists all day, but he knew it would be rude to keep the other kids waiting any longer. So he turned away, breathing deeply. His lungs expanded with the fresh air that was constantly pumped into this section of the factory to keep the temperature in the ideal 70- to 72-degree candymaking range. Refreshed, he ran without stopping to the large front entryway.

He heard the bell ring a few times as he approached the thick wooden door. But when he reached it, his hand lingered on the brass doorknob. What would he say to the newcomers? Why hadn’t he prepared a welcome speech like those he’d heard his dad give to new employees on their first day?

Well, he might not have a speech, but at least he had a poem. He reached into his pocket, took a deep breath, and swung open the door in time to hear the boy in the suit say, “And that’s just the way it is.” Then three faces turned expectantly toward his.

In that moment, all their fates were sealed. They just didn’t know it yet.



Continues...

Excerpted from The Candymakers by Mass, Wendy Copyright © 2010 by Mass, Wendy. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 784 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(639)

4 Star

(79)

3 Star

(30)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(27)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 787 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 15, 2010

    "Deliciously tasty!"

    This is a really great book! As a 10 year old girl, I don't usually read books with most of the main characters being boys. But, I must admit this was a grand adventure. I felt like I was "in" the book. It is so good, I wished it would last forever. Enjoy!!

    132 out of 143 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I hope this becomes a series!

    I was at the bookstore one day when this book caught my attention.The cover itself was amazing.Now I am halfway through and let me tell you that you have to read this book.And another thing i hope there will be sequel to this book.If so i will be sooo HAPPY!!Anyway to Wendy Mass for an amazing book thank you!

    69 out of 89 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Book Ever!

    At the Life Is Sweet candy factory, four 12-year-olds gather to compete in creating a new candy. Logan, the Candymaker's son, dreams of winning and carrying on the family tradition. Miles is a boy obsessed with allergies and the afterlife. Phillip scribbles in his secret notebook, determined to win no matter what. The only girl, Daisy, shows great physical strength as wellas weird behavior. Later in the book, you will learn Daisy's true identity. Throughout the whole book, you learn more about Life Is Sweet from Max, an employee there. It shows the perspective of all the characters and each of them are faced with a decision. What candy should they make?

    57 out of 72 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    A good read...

    I liked it alot but I think its for young pre-teens. (like 5th and 6th graders). It has surprising twists and the details are very well written. I think this a good change for Wendy Mass from the usual. I like it! Keep it up Wendy. :)

    48 out of 60 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    FANTABULOUS!!!!!!!!!

    This book rocks. I loved each and every page more than the previous. The way that Wendy Mass wrote this book is really interesting because she basically starts the story over and talks about the competition from every characters situation. For instince, Logan is the candymakers son so it talks about life at the candy factory and the people who live there in his chapter. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!

    37 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2011

    Amazing!!!

    First of all i lovvvvvved this book! When I was reading this book there were many situations to be solved. I couldnt stop reading because in every chapter something surprising would happen. Even though it might take a while to finish its worth it because at the end everything make sense although in the begining its a little confusing. But yeah this book is amazing ,I would recomend it to anyone! :)

    28 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    read this.

    I am a very very very picky 12 year old when it comes to clothing, food, and ...books but i have to say the book was very well written. it made my socks slip right off. It's a book for KIDS. kids can easily read this book. Wendy Mass is a genius.


    23 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    SO GOOD

    This book is AMAZING.

    22 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2012

    Loved

    Its a really great book and I hope a second book comes out. Loving candy,this is the book fr me and everyone out there who loves candy too. :3 :D • {} •

    17 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2012

    <3

    I <3ed this book! THE winner is Kimberly Bowke, with her invention of the Bacon Pop! ( Kidding)

    13 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2012

    Really good

    This book is amazing.....it gives you the story from everyones point of view....i highly recommend this book...i felt like i went through the twist and turns with everyone

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2011

    AMAZING!!!!!!

    You have to read it, with every new section the plot is told from different points of view that reval suprising things about each charecter! All of your Q's will be answered! Start reading!!!!!!!!!!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2011

    not done

    but I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!!!!!!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    The Candymakers

    Best book EVER!!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2012

    My review

    Im reading this book in school because it is free and dose not cost anything. AND this is a really great book so far almost done it makes you feel like you are in the book it gives greay details and as a 12 year old i LOVE this book

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    Soooooo¿ goddy goddy

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i'm a alien

    5 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    Listen up,

    Hey, this book is the BOMB!! It has twists and turns, and yummy candy, but there is some real shockers..... like when they find out who daisy really is.... anyway, i just finished the book the other day, and i was so happy

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    I loved it

    Awsome book get it now

    5 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for Teens Read Too

    Fans of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY will want to check out Wendy Mass's THE CANDYMAKERS, and if nothing else, the colorful cover is sure to attract interested readers. Life is Sweet Candy Company is hosting a candy-making contest. Four contestants will be trying to create the winning candy recipe for Region Three. They are to report to the candy company two days before the contest, for a whirlwind tour and a chance to get acquainted with the equipment they will be using for the contest. The four contestants include Daisy, Philip, Miles, and Logan. Each one has a very personal reason for wanting to be involved in the contest; reasons that don't necessarily include wanting to win. Their motivations include revenge, a secret spy mission, and the desire to make candy-making parents proud. Each contestant presents their story to the reader. They may all be at the same location and subject to the same contest rules, but each has a unique twist to their personal story, filling THE CANDYMAKERS with plenty of surprises. Author Wendy Mass once again proves she is a master storyteller.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    Blahblahwhoopetyblah

    My friend got this at a school bookfair, and I thought I could of got it, but I got a scary book instead. I wanted to know if it's good or not. Should I get it?

    4 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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